Stories in Ojibwe Tradition

Students will synthesize their knowledge of specific elements that make an Ojibwe story unique to create their own story and publish it in a blank book.Students will use artistic design elements of space, line, form, and color to lay-out the pages of a book, with borders, text and illustrations.Proceed with caution when using traditional stories in your classroom. There are mixed opinions on this practice. For more information read The January 2007 issue of Language Arts, published by the National Council of Teachers of English. This lesson also uses ideas of pour quoi. For additional information as well as opposing viewpoints on Native pour quoi stories in classrooms look at Debbie Reese's Blog on children's literature

Lastly, storytelling is also culturally appropriate for winter months only in the Great Lakes Ojibwe culture. As always, please connect with local elders and culturalists to ensure your curriculum choices and classroom materials are appropriate for your region and community.

Materials Needed


Art Materials


Activity Process


Have visual aids in classroom, (baskets, beadwork, posters, books, bulletin boards of Ojibwe images) Talk about the various traditions of story telling and the reason why, when and who told stories. Who tells stories in your family? what are they about? Students will learn about the variety of stories and meanings of oral traditions in Ojibwe cultures. We will talk about the ways that stories can be sacred, and must be told at certain times of the year, namely winter in our community. We also talk about cultural purposes for telling stories; to learn, understand something, know right from wrong, entertainment, historical importance, etc.


An elder is invited to the room to tell stories to the class and talk about their traditions in passing oral histories along.He tells many stories about animals as well as variations of creation stories from Ojibwe tradition.


  1. Students will read multiple stories (see resources for ideas)
  2. Students will understand the meaning of pour quoi, or cause/effect tales.
  3. Students will write their own story, keeping in mind themes and qualities of Ojibwe stories they've heard.
  4. Students will publish their tale in a blank book following required guidelines for content of specific pages/sections using teacher supplied rubric/student user-friendly checklist.
  5. Students will learn a specific number of Ojibwe words embedded into the spelling curriculum during the year.
  6. Students will use a specific number of Ojibwe words in their book, and will also include a glossary at the end of the book.


Students will read and present stories to the class.


Teacher led discussions, quizzes or tests covering essential elements of pour quoi stories.

Vocabulary Words

Grade Level


Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards


Social Studies